Community treasures Tohwahpahsah tradition

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 15, 2023

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RESERVE — The first Krewe of Tohwahpahsah rolled through the streets of Reserve roughly 40 years ago as family and friends hopped in the back of a truck to share the Mardi Gras spirit. Lawrence “Noonie” Triche was inspired to start a parade in Reserve for the community to enjoy without having to bring their families to the city.

Decades later, Triche’s daughters continue to organize the parade each year in memory of their father. While insurance regulations have changed through the years and organizers have put in the effort to make the parade bigger and better, Krewe of Tohwahpahsah remains true to its roots by bringing the community together with affordable, family-oriented fun.

“You pay $25 to drive a vehicle or $50 to pull a float,” said Frances Triche Sullivan, president of the Krewe of Tohwahpahsah nonprofit. “It’s a cheap way to experience the Mardi Gras atmosphere as if you were in New Orleans, but we are bringing it to your front yard.”

This year’s parade will roll through Reserve beginning at noon on Saturday, February 18. The assembly time is 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the parking lot of Reserve Bantam on Railroad Avenue in Reserve.

The familiar parade route travels through West Fourth Street, Annex, Railroad Avenue, West Third, West Second and West First before turning onto River Road. From there, the floats travel down West Eighth and West 10th streets before returning to the starting point at Reserve Bantam. An after party at Airborne Bar featuring music from DJ Shivers will follow from 6 p.m. – til.

Registration for the parade remains open until the Thursday before the parade. Earlier this month, Sullivan had already registered 12 to 15 floats and one marching group from East St. John Preparatory Academy.

“Tohwahpahsah” is a French phrase translating to “You don’t see that,” but organizers are more focused on what they do see on the parade route. The most treasured sights include generations of family gathered together in front yards as children decked in Mardi Gras beads wave to the floats passing by.

Krewe of Tohwahpashsah returned to Reserve last year after the previous year’s Mardi Gras festivities were cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges the region has faced, Sullivan said it’s important to her family and to the community to push forward and keep the parade rolling for years to come.

“COVID really taught us that not being together makes you miss the parade a lot more. You look forward to getting together with your family and walking outside your front door to catch a little hometown parade passing,” Sullivan said.

Fundraisers are held throughout the year to keep the parade rolling. These typically include Saints and LSU football pools and delivering candy-filled eggs during the Easter season. Marathon Petroleum has also donated $1,400 to support the hometown parade.

Some individuals have been riding in Krewe of Tohwahpahsah nearly as long as the parade has been rolling. Each year, a king and a queen are announced to the public about an hour before the start of the parade to honor longtime participants who have embraced the community tradition for many years.

Sullivan is assured her father would be proud to see how a little hometown parade continues to bring people together today.

“Year after year, I see the parade grow,” Sullivan said. “Families come together and gather together. It’s definitely a parade that makes you feel at home and at ease.”

Tractor-pulled floats, marching groups, dance groups, kings and queens, and assorted vehicles are welcomed. The parade is not tied to a specific theme, and participants are invited to let their creativity shine as they decorate floats.

For more information, contact Sullivan at 225-417-9677, vice president Melanie Landeche Stein at 985-536-6110, or treasurer Nikki T. LeBouef at 985-703-2212. Information can also be obtained by emailing, and registration forms/fees can submitted by mail to Krewe of Tohwahpahsah Parade, 715 North Ezidore Gramercy, LA 70052.

Updates and information on fundraisers can be found by following the Krewe of Tohwahpahsah Facebook page.